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Am I being a bad parent... by losing my temper when my kids don't get on?

Our reader wishes her two daughters could find a happy medium.

SQUABBLING BETWEEN SIBLINGS is fairly commonplace among younger kids, but as children get older, the conflict can become more heightened.

As a parent, is there ever a right time to step in – and if you don’t, do you risk raising kids who just don’t get on with one another? That’s what one frustrated mum of two is wondering this week.

Each week in our new series, Am I Being A Bad Parent?, we hear from a reader who can’t figure out if they’re on the right track with a parenting decision, or if they’ve gotten something 100% wrong. To get a balanced view of the situation, we put the dilemma to a group of Irish parents, keeping things anonymous to encourage honest answers.

This week’s dilemma

Am I being a bad parent by giving out to my kids when they don’t get on? Myself and my sister have always been best friends and I wish my two daughters could be the same. They’re 12 and 15 now and there’s conflict almost daily. I know they need to work conflict out themselves, but I have friends who don’t get on with their adult siblings, so I know how things can go. Am I being unreasonable to step in?

Our anonymous readers’ responses

Yes, you’re being unreasonable. I’m not sure that you can force your kids to get on – especially at such a difficult age for everyone. Take things slowly. I would maybe sit down with them both and encourage them to talk things out and see if you can manage conflict in the short-term that way.

No, you’re not being unreasonable, but don’t step in every time. From a family of seven, half of us tore strips off the other half. But in the end blood is thicker than water. Conflict is inevitable, especially with teenagers, but try to only step in when it goes beyond the bounds of acceptable.

Yes, you’re being unreasonable. With my teens I found if they were doing things together that they both enjoyed, then there was generally no conflict. We all went together to rugby matches with another family. It was a common area of focus for them which still stands good today.

Yes, you’re being unreasonable by giving out. With any conflict situation, there is a limited about that will be achieved by getting angry – it’s not going to help with the feelings that are leading to the conflict. Sit down with each of them so that they feel listened to, and then try a sit down together.

No, you’re not being unreasonable, but have patience. Three of my kids are teenagers currently and they swing between completely ignoring each other to killing each other.  Getting along is rare and wonderful but I see it happening more as they get older.  If you’re intervening to set boundaries around respect and not being hurtful to each other, you’re not being a bad parent – but stay patient too.

So what’s the final tally? Is our reader being unreasonable?

Yes – 3

No – 2

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

More: Am I being a bad parent… by refusing to let my daughter wear dresses?

Help! Am I being unreasonable? We’re looking for parenting dilemmas from our readers for our Am I Being A Bad Parent? feature. Drop us a line with your reader dilemma on

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